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Eye On Boise

Former Congressman George Hansen loses Idaho Supreme Court appeal

Former seven-term Idaho Congressman George Hansen has lost an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court to get out of repaying hundreds of thousands of dollars to an Idaho couple he swindled in a investment scheme. Hansen was first ordered to repay Ann and the late James Meyers $300,000 back in 1993, when Hansen was serving a federal prison sentence for securities fraud, according to the court decision. He maintained he didn’t remember being served, and also questioned whether he received proper notice of subsequent default judgments against him in the case. In 2006, he filed two pro se motions resisting an order in the case, but then claimed he didn’t know about the default judgment until 2007, when he got an attorney. He also claimed in his appeal that he was “without substantial assets” to pay the judgment.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Warren Jones, the high court wrote, “Hansen’s argument strangely assumes that he was unaware of his own assets until 2007. Moreover, there is no reason why the judgment would become inequitable simply because the judgment debtor cannot afford to pay it.” The court also found, “Hansen personally received his initial service of process and also a mailed notice of the Entry of Default but did nothing.” The original default judgment of $299,350, with interest, has swelled to a judgment of $732,927.

The high court wrote, “Although Hansen characterized the investment as a personal loan to him, Meyers and her late husband invested nearly $300,000 in Ideal Consultants, what they believed was a legitimate attempt to build a revenue-generating program known as the Congressional Accountability Project. This was a fraudulent commercial transaction.” The court awarded costs and attorney fees for the appeal to Meyers. You can read the court’s decision here. Hansen, a Republican, was first elected to Idaho’s 2nd District congressional seat in 1964 and served two terms, before losing a challenge to Democratic Sen. Frank Church. He won election to the House seat again in 1974, and won re-election four times before losing to Democrat Richard Stallings in 1984.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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